It feels like yesterday when my fingers were holding the thick rim of the Audi e-tron GT Concept in the heart of Los Angeles. At that time it was a common world, before a time when social detachment and acne-inducing masks became the new normal. Still in concept form, although about 90 to 99 percent ready for production, Audi’s e-tron GT looked like the future with its impressive contour and sincere grand touring potential.
Three years later, the production Audi e-tron GT 2022 is ready to take on the world and take on companies like Tesla and Porsche. It is essentially a concept that came to life and brought an RS model for good measure. The 2022 RS e-tron GT is the first all-electric model to wear the RS emblem and has large shoes to fill, considering that the RS6 Avant and RS7 Sportback are spectacular. Judging by my brief stint at the concept a few years ago, I have no doubt that Audi’s first electric RS model can easily outshine its gasoline-powered brothers.
One could argue anyway that the Audi RS e-tron GT is a Tesla killer or not – that judgment has yet to be made, once I have the opportunity to drive it. That said, the e-tron GT looks a lot like Tony Stark: he may not be the most powerful Avenger, but he is bright enough to overcome adversity with his charm, intelligence and technology. If the nickname ‘GT’ is any indication, it’s an authentic grand tourer for an animated direction. You sit down inside the e-tron GT as you would in an Audi R8, but it has a longer wheelbase than an Audi A7, while maintaining the same overall length. The concept had enough space for taller individuals in the hindquarters, but the front seats are where the action is.
The 2022 Audi e-tron GT has a pair of permanently excited synchronous motors (PSM), one for each axle. The smaller engine at the front produces 235 horsepower, while the more powerful rear engine produces 316 horsepower, both values rounded to the nearest whole number. The combined output is 470 horsepower and a healthy 454.7 pound-feet of torque, with the ability to produce 523 horsepower for 2.5 seconds in over-boost and launch control mode. In this configuration, the e-tron GT accelerates to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds from a fixed start, onwards to a maximum speed of 152 mph.
The richer RS e-tron GT has the same front engine as the standard model. However, it has an even more powerful rear electric motor that produces 450 horsepower, increasing the combined horsepower to 589 horsepower and 612 foot-pounds of torque. In over-boost, the power train calls up to 637 horses at its disposal. With a sturdy lead foot, the RS e-tron GT fires from 0 to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds with a top speed of 152 mph.
Good numbers, yes, but I would be brooding if I didn’t mention that, in the wake of the Porsche Taycan, the less impressive output power. Okay, the Taycan is essentially a four-door 911 (with more giant shoes to fill the performance category), while the Audi is a fully electric grand tourer.
As expected with the RS brand, the e-tron GT is treated with additional chassis, steering and suspension tuning to deliver an authentic RS steering feel. And, similar to the Taycan, the new e-tron GT also benefits from a two-speed gearbox. In normal driving modes, the Quattro transmission system uses second gear to save energy and improve efficiency. But in sporty driving modes, the vehicle starts in first gear and shifts to second gear at about 50 to 55 mph for faster acceleration.
Standard on the e-tron GT is a three-chamber air suspension with 60% greater capacity to offer more flexibility to find the right balance between comfort and handling. It also means the ability to raise (up to 0.8 inches) or lower (up to 0.9 inches) the body to improve aerodynamic performance when moving between driving modes. Together with the automatic opening and closing of the air intakes in the radiator ducts and brake ducts, the e-tron GT achieves a drag coefficient of 0.24 Cd.
The RS e-tron GT comes standard with Audi’s all-wheel steering system, similar to what you get on the RS6 Avant and RS7 Sportback. The rear wheels rotate (up to 2.8 degrees) in the opposite direction of the front wheels, and do so at speeds up to 30 mph to improve maneuverability.
On the other hand, the rear wheels rotate in the same direction above 30 mph to improve stability and handling at high speed. The RS e-tron GT also receives a standard rear axle differential lock (optional on the e-tron GT) with a multi-plate clutch to make mincemeat from slippery or demanding surfaces.
All Audi e-tron GT models destined for the USA will come with a 93.4 kWh lithium-ion battery with an integrated cooling structure. The 800-volt electrical architecture first seen on the Taycan means less weight, less heat, repeatable high-performance runs, faster charging times and more efficient juice dispersion, allowing for a maximum DC charging rate of up to 270 kW. With a compatible charger, you have enough power to bring batteries up to 80% in less than 23 minutes. The driving range is expected to land around 248 to 280 miles, although Audi has yet to release official EPA figures.
You can extend the driving range by mastering the vehicle’s energy recovery system, which can be pre-configured using the oars behind the helm. For drivers accustomed to driving with a pedal, you’ll need to rethink your driving strategy: think more about the deceleration lines, rather than allowing the e-tron GT to slow the car aggressively.
Standard equipment includes 20-inch alloy wheels and five double spokes (aerodynamic wheels are standard on the RS model), a leather-free interior with recycled Dynamics and Alcantara, Audi’s 12.3-inch virtual cockpit and an MMI infotainment system 10.1 inches. The driver receives a flat-bottomed steering wheel, while the RS e-tron GT has a five-layer carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) roof, the first in an Audi production.
I’m sad to see that the Concept’s two-layer screen failed to get into the production vehicle. In fact, the cabin as a whole is – unsurprisingly – where the 2022 e-tron GT diverges more from its predecessor concept car.
The 2022 Audi e-tron GT arrives in the United States this summer. Base prices start at $ 99,900 for the e-tron GT Quattro Premium Plus, while the e-tron Quattro GT Prestige and RS e-tron GT start at $ 107,100 and $ 139,900, respectively. This is excluding fate, but Audi says it anticipates 2022 cars that qualify for up to $ 7,500 in federal EV incentives.